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Oklahoma City Thunder: Robert Swift's fall from NBA told by Seattle Times

seattletimes.com Published: May 26, 2014
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photo - NBA BASKETBALL TEAM / TATTOO: Robert Swift of the Oklahoma City Thunder poses for a portrait during the Thunder media day on Monday, September 29, 2008. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD
NBA BASKETBALL TEAM / TATTOO: Robert Swift of the Oklahoma City Thunder poses for a portrait during the Thunder media day on Monday, September 29, 2008. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD

Whatever happened to Robert Swift?

Seattle Times reporter Jayson Jenks set out to find out and came up empty-handed when it came to tracking down the former Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder 7-footer. But along the way, Jenks tells the story of Swift's fall through the eyes of family members, and former coaches and friends.

Drafted with so much promise in 2004, Swift is now 28 and out of basketball after a series of injuries and trouble off the court derailed his NBA career.

From Jenks' story:

By the time Swift joined the NBA’s Development League team in Bakersfield in 2009, he was overweight. He couldn’t move like he once did, and he had to realize just how far he was from the NBA.

Swift asked for a leave of absence after just two games, and that was the last the team saw of him.

“He had a lot of scar tissue by the time we got him,” says Will Voigt, the Bakersfield coach. “He always had that air about him: ‘Hey, I’ve got this under control.’ But he was burying emotional scars. Just not so deep that you couldn’t be aware of them.”


In Jenks' piece, Swift draws comparisons to Bill Walton from former USC assistant Kurtis Townsend, who recruited Swift to the Trojans before Swift ultimately chose to go pro. Swift was drafted by the Sonics out of Bakersfield (Calif.) High School in 2004 at No. 12 overall -- ironically, the same spot the Thunder selected promising big man Steven Adams at almost a decade later.

Swift's final season in the NBA came with the Thunder in 2008, when there were still signs of his promise.

See this story on seattletimes.com